Friday, June 20, 2014

Solstice Catch Up

Looking back I discover that I haven't written about my garden for five months! I have been out there working our land though.

We had a reasonable summer garden, though we have resolved not to use peat pots any more. The courgettes, pumpkins and cucumbers did not do well, and this was the second year that we'd had problems. The only ones that did well were the cucumbers that sprung up self-seeded from the previous year. As I cleaned up the garden at the end of the season the penny dropped. The peat pots had not disintegrated the way they are supposed to, and thus the plants could not spread and develop their roots.

It was a bumper year for my peas and beans though, and also the capsicum. The tomatoes were sufficient for day to day use, but I wasn't able to store many, just a couple of bottles of sauce.

The big thing was that I cleared all the dead plants in good time, have spread a lot of mulch, and planted winter things for only the second year - though still not from seed, instead buying seedlings. Maybe next year. I had broad beans, onions, leeks, garlic, spring onions, lettuce, a variety of brassica (including pak choi, after Simon told me it was yummy - Simon - vegetables yummy? - have to try them then!)
Last week I went outside to plant some more garlic and a few remaining spring onions which have been bravely fighting to live since I planted out the rest of the punnet a couple of months ago. I went to get my garden bag with my gloves, tools etc. - oh no! I hadn't hung it up on its hook last time and everything was soaked. Including half a paper packet of broad beans and a packet and a half of peas - soaked and sprouting. So I had to spend a whole lot more time hoeing some garden space and planting seed carefully so as not to break off the wee shoots. The bag has been scrubbed and is almost dry again.
 The chook run has become more and more overgrown. The flax bush has grown so much I could hardly get in, and couldn't get the wheelbarrow to the right place to clean out the hen house. It had to go!
 The 60th birthday party bunting that I had transferred to the run to deter the harrier the year I 'grew' my own chicks, had become torn and bedraggled and needed to be untied from the trees and discarded.
 An early winter weekend was perfect- sunny but not too hot.
This summer we bought a moveable fence to extend the run. It could be an electric fence, but we don't bother - the chooks don't get out through it anyway. They do clean up the ground - especially good when the nashis were dropping on the ground and starting to rot. Anyway, the run has had it's winter clean up.
 My bees are a sad story: I put strips in one hive early, as it was showing signs of varroa, but I was late putting them in the other two, and they were too weakened to survive the massive wasp attack we had this year, along with much of the rest of the country. We killed five nests, but hardly made a dent in the numbers attacking the hives.So I lost two of the three hives. It is heartbreaking, especially when I know that it was partly my fault for letting them get weakened like that.

Inside, I have been undoing and re-knitting the jersey I gave up on last winter. I don't feel bad about that since I discovered that my sister Elizabeth, who is an awesome knitter, has also undone hers to reknit - it was obviously a not well written pattern that I got from her. I've been playing with paper and books, and just bought myself an overlocker, so will be having fun with fabrics when the wet weather keeps me inside.

Today is the shortest day and so far, despite a stressful time over the past six months, I have had no hint of depression. Life is good.


Rebecca Clack said...

I had to look up some words. Learned that "harrier" is a hawk and still not sure what it means to have a penny drop. . .
Your battle with Depression has been terrible for you, but your battle out of it has been remarkable for those of us watching the journey. You're specific in what you share that helped, and that knowledge helps others make it through. During those cold, dark months here in Alaska, I look at it as a reminder that there is hope.

So sorry about the bees. Those wasp nests will appear. Some people around here inflate plastic store bags and cover them with aluminum foil - and hang down from tree branches - to ward off the wasps. They think it's a nest, and they won't nest where they see them hanging out of trees.Don't know if it will work, but will give you something to explore over your winter.

Back to your sweater . . .

Cally said...

Thanks for your kind words, Rebecca - and for the wasp tip - will have to try it next year.